Harrogate Grammar School has been chosen to work towards being accredited with the Carnegie Centre of Excellence for Mental Health in Schools Award. Carnegie School of Education, based at Leeds Beckett University, and Minds Ahead CIC have developed a School Mental Health Award to give schools a framework for whole school mental health development.
A school spokesman said: “Mental Health, especially amongst young people, has been very high-profile news in the last few years and the current government have made a commitment to strengthen overall mental health, well-being awareness and support in school.
“By working towards accreditation in the Schools Mental Health Award, Harrogate Grammar School is demonstrating a deep commitment to working towards excellent practice in this area.”
The Mental Health Award is an assessment tool which allows the school to evaluate the current practices and initiatives as well as providing a structure to develop.
“The award is based on eight key competencies and will allow the school to evaluate current practices including leadership and strategy, structure and culture, support for staff and students, professional development and learning, as well with parents, carers and external services.
Harrogate Grammar School will also be able to celebrate the good work it has already achieved such as the partnership with Just B in developing an emotional and wellbeing service.
Deputy Headteacher, Tim Milburn, said: “We are excited to be working towards this award and we are committed to innovation and development in this area for the benefit of our whole school community.”
Harrogate Grammar School is also a member of the Red Kite Learning Trust (RKLT), a large employer of over 1200 staff.
The Trust is committed to its pledge of raising mental health awareness across its schools with the first cohort of staff having just taken part in a Mental Health First Aid course, led by Pat Sowa.
Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) is an internationally recognised training programme first developed in Australia and now adapted and running in many countries around the world. It was first introduced to the UK in 2007 by the Department of Health.
MHFA training provides the skills, knowledge and understanding of first aid for mental health so that a first aider can effectively support someone in distress and point them to appropriate professional help when needed. The training helps individuals and communities to spot the signs and symptoms of mental health issues and teaches them how to support themselves and others.
The RKLT commissioned the first training programme from Starfish and Pat applies her former teaching experience to the role of MHFA Trainer.
The course has brought together delegates from across the Trust working in HR, classroom teaching, pastoral care and senior leadership roles and is just one of the initiatives as part of working towards the Schools Mental Health Award.
Pat Sowa said: “As a Mental Health First Aid trainer, I train in both adult and youth (8-18) first aid and am delighted to be working with the Red Kite Learning Trust to develop their skills and knowledge in this area as part of their commitment to well-being for both staff and pupils.
“Step by step we are increasing understanding of mental health so we can all work together to build mentally healthier, safer, communities and workplaces.”